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Malawi: the economy, stupid?

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On May 19, voters in Malawi will go to the polls to elect their next president. The Democratic Progressive Party has been in power for the last four years and is fielding President Bingu wa Mutharika as its candidate once again.

Despite facing a strong alliance of the main opposition leader and a former president, the incumbent is expected to win on the back of an economic boom.

Though critics accuse Mutharika of rigging his way into office, he is credited with helping to improve Malawi’s economy. Since he took over, the country has experienced an average economic growth of 7 percent.

“He inherited a very politically and economically mismanaged legacy … and it was a very tall order to get the country running, to try to get the confidence of very important external players in Malawi,” said Dimpho Motsamai, a political analyst at the Institute for Global Dialogue in South Africa who specializes on Malawi.

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